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Transform the exterior of your home - Part one

Renovation expert Michael Holmes
Renovation expert Michael Holmes

Is your property in need of a dramatic update? Explore the options to create kerb appeal with experienced renovator Michael Holmes.

Read part two...

Giving your house an external makeover – by fitting new windows or taking on a more extensive project, such as changing the shape of your roof to create a more dramatic style – will transform the look of your home. Choose a project that suits your budget and matches the style of your home.

Change the roof

On some styles of house – especially a bungalow – the roof is a very dominant feature, so if you change the shape of it and/or the roof covering it will transform your property’s appearance.

Pressure-washing a moss-covered roof can be an inexpensive improvement which helps to freshen up a tired-looking property. Pressure washers start from £50-£100 from Screwfix (

Replacing sun-faded concrete roof tiles can give a 1960s or 1970s house a new lease of life. Budget £28-£35 per m² to replace old tiles with new interlocking concrete ones, including labour and materials.

If you’re looking to do a period-style makeover, look at traditional properties and copy the vernacular style, whether it is plain clay tiles, Roman tiles, slate or stone. For a contemporary makeover, you should opt for natural slate or man-made slates.

Changing the roof covering is usually classed as permitted development so it doesn’t need planning permission, but you are required to add roof insulation at the same time to meet building regulations. If you change your roof covering it will cost from £40-£80 per m². Changing its shape is a more radical and expensive alteration but it can have a dramatic impact, for example, to increase the roof height on a 1970s house with a very low-pitched roof, or a flat-roofed 1960s house.

The cost can be mitigated if the new roof is tall enough to allow for a loft conversion. Bear in mind that raising the height of the roof will always require planning permission.

Case study

This remodelling scheme was designed by Back to Front Exterior Design

BEFORE: This 1950s flat-roofed house looked utilitarian and needed a complete re-think. The owners had the vision and budget to invest in a new design.

AFTER: Adding a pitched roof provided additional accommodation, while the flat-roofed ground floor extension created a great living and entertaining space. The glazing was high quality German aluminium. This remodelling scheme was designed by Back to Front Exterior Design.

Clad the walls

If your home has 1970s or 1980s stone cladding, pebbledash, mismatching bricks or a mixture of different external materials you can remove or cover it and re-finish the walls using a different material to create a complete new look. The cheapest option is to use masonry paint in a neutral shade, such as off white, to help unify the different materials. You can expect this to cost you around a few £100s.

New cladding options include render (sand and cement, or a modern flexible breathable polymer modified render for houses without cavity walls), New England-style timber boarding, hung tiles and brick slips (thin brick tiles).

If you want to give a 1970s house a contemporary look, budget £30-£40 per m² for self-coloured render on the ground floor, and £90-£110 per m² to clad the first floor in horizontal oak boarding.

Painting your property or changing the cladding is usually classed as permitted development, so it does not require any planning permission (visit for details). If you’re cladding the exterior of the walls, it’s a good opportunity to add external insulation to improve energy efficiency.

Case study

This extension is deliberately not in keeping with the original house in order to create more striking elevations

BEFORE: This 1950s house had flush verges, dull brickwork and oddly positioned windows. It also lacked kerb appeal, which made it ripe for the property transformation that is pictured above.

AFTER: This extension is deliberately not in keeping with the original house in order to create more striking elevations, such as weatherboarding and a slate roof. All designed by Back to Front Exterior Design.

Replace your windows

Windows are the eyes of a house – if you change them, you can alter your property’s whole personality, especially if it’s done in conjunction with an overall redesign scheme.

Using permitted development rights (visit for details) you can change the style of your window frames, alter the shape and size of the window openings and add new ones without having to get planning permission.

A modern house that might be lacking in character can be made to look like a period property by adding period-style small casement or sliding sash windows and by altering the door openings. Expect to budget an average of £600-£800 per window supplied and fitted.

A 1950s or 1960s property with modest window openings could be given a contemporary makeover by adding large window openings with a horizontal emphasis and narrow frame profiles.

The most inexpensive solution is to buy new windows direct from a manufacturer, DIY supplier or online and fit them yourself. PVCu windows from websites such as Dunster House ( and DIYUPVC Trade Windows ( can be ordered to your bespoke specification online. Expect to budget £200-£350 per window. If you want the windows installed, you should always shop around and hold out for the best price.

All replacement windows must comply with building regulations. This means either using a FENSA registered installer (find one at who can self-certify their work for building regulations purposes, or submitting an application to the local authority together with the correct fee and either fitting them yourself or using a general builder to fit them for you.